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Report: Detroit Lions Have “Strong” Interest in San Diego Chargers’ Ken Whisenhunt

January 2nd, 2014 at 9:23 PM
By Max DeMara

The Detroit Lions have been rumored to be looking for an offensive mind to work with Matthew Stafford as their next head coach. If that's the case, they might be targeting the right man in Ken Whisenhunt, the current offensive coordinator for the impressive San Diego Chargers.

'Arizona Cardinals Football Training 2010' photo (c) 2010, Nick Bastian - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Thursday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Lions had been calling around for references on Whisenhunt, and maintain "very strong" interest in the Chargers' offensive coordinator who worked wonders with Phillip Rivers during the 2013 season. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press followed up and found that Whisenhunt had not yet been contacted by the Lions or any of their officials, but remained friends with Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew from his playing days and beyond, adding another level to the story.

Whisenhunt also has the desirable element of previous head coaching experience going for him in his candidacy. From 2007 to 2012, he was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, helping the team to one impressive Super Bowl appearance in 2008 and a playoff appearance the very next year. He's also been a teacher, working with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an offensive coordinator during their Super Bowl season in 2005, helping to mold young Ben Roethlisberger and working with tight ends like Heath Miller and Mark Bruener.

All in all, Whisenhunt has a 45-51 career record as a coach and a 4-2 playoff record, which is about par for the course as it relates to potential Lions' candidates whom have come up so far with prior NFL experience. The Lions will have to wait another week to interview Whisenhunt or perhaps also Mike Zimmer or Jay Gruden, two other hot names, as all three will be competing this weekend as the Chargers take on the Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs.

Now that Bill O'Brien and Lovie Smith are both off the market as expected, will Whisenhunt become Detroit's new top candidate? It seems that could be the case, considering the lack of movement with anyone else. The Lions are expected to interview Jim Caldwell on Friday.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

Tags: Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, Jay Gruden, Ken Whisenhunt, Martin Mayhew, Mike Zimmer, NFL

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